The Snowsuit as a Technology for Outdoor Play

    Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


    This research paper investigates the snowsuit as an essential, but unheeded part of the “welfare network.”. The function of the snowsuit is essentially to provide efficient protection against the harsh Nordic climate, and it can therefore be considered as “micro-architecture”, which translates between the child’s individual body and the kindergarten as a welfare institution. Outdoor play is considered particularly healthy and stimulating for children, and the snowsuit may be viewed as a textile-spatial technology for enabling this.

    As a product typology the snowsuit can be traced back to the interwar period’s play suits. Early snowsuits were either light offering little warmth or warm, but bulky and heavy thus impeding the child’s freedom of movement. The invention of nylon completely changed the parameters of this design dilemma and made it possible to produce snowsuits with were simultaneously warm, light and strong, and the snowsuit had its definitive break-through in the 1970s, when working mothers and professional daycare increased the demand for easy-care fabrics and rational wardrobe management.

    In order to shed light on the snowsuit and its role in the network of the welfare state, the study draws on Actor-network theory, particularly recent work which link ANT to design. Essentially descriptive and empirical in character, ANT offers a framework for tracing the multiple associations between human and non-human actors, which of which the snowsuit is a part. The study draws on the Finnish company Reima’s archive, which offers technical drawings, product photos and company records as well as supplementary interview material. The paper argues that the snowsuit increased the “kindergarten-ability” of children and hence forms a small but essential part of what holds the welfare state together.
    Periode7. maj 2021
    BegivenhedstitelSpaces of Welfare: Architecture, Design, Conservation
    PlaceringKøbenhavn, DanmarkVis på kort
    Grad af anerkendelseInternational


    • Børns materielle kultur, institutioner, velfærdsteknologi, ANT
    • Children's material culture, institutions, welfare technology, ANT